Governor opts for non-exclusive health insurance option - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Governor opts for non-exclusive health insurance option

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Following a recommendation by Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, Governor Eddie Calvo has decided to allow choice in carriers for Government of Guam employees and retirees. Director of communications Troy Torres explained, saying, "I think it's a good day for GovGuam employees and retirees. They will have a choice in insurance companies to choose from when open enrollment begins."

That recommendation specifically noted how the negotiating team managed to negotiate a multiple carrier scenario that substantially is cheaper than the rates being paid now under the sole provider. "We have to keep in mind too is that when we talk about prices, these are estimates that are provided by the actuary or by the health insurance negotiating team and they're not final numbers," he added.

This is the first time in many years that a non-exclusive contract has been an option, something Torres says probably would have happened last year as the governor was prepared to choose the multiple-carrier scenario. That process as you recall resulted in a protest which caused a rollover of the prior year contract. "Hopefully this ends a whole lot of shenanigans and the political maneuvering from all the governor's detractors and this proves that he's not looking out for his family interest, he's looking at what's the best interest of the people of Guam and GovGuam workers and retirees," he said.

In his letter, Lt. Governor Tenorio further praised the work of the negotiating team adding they were able to secure more benefits for GovGuam employees and retirees noting the real variables for deciding over exclusive and non-exclusive were choice, reliability and cost. "I think what the insurance negotiating team has proven that they can do the job without political interference and without another law changing the process in the middle of the process," Torres said.

Torres is referring to Senator Ben Pangelinan's Bill 81 that would have changed how GovGuam procures health insurance for Fiscal Year 2014. That measure was ultimately vetoed in May by Calvo, calling it "meddlesome and political legislation."

Ultimately, torres says it's an "incredible feat" that the negotiating team was able to secure the multiple carrier scenario at an estimate that is below what is the current price adding it's the beauty of the market place that will now allow every person to decide based on their person preference. Next up, the negotiating team will present options for the cost share in which Governor Calvo will choose which cost share is in the best interest of the employees and retirees. 

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